*Updated with photos and more background info*
You can read Jared's version of Miriam's birth here.
I had a very uneventful pregnancy this time until the third trimester. I felt great, and with the exception of some round ligament pain, never even got that uncomfortable. However, Baby Miriam decided we needed some more drama in our lives when she turned breech around the start of the third trimester and stubbornly refused to go head down. We spent weeks trying all the normal tricks--breech tilt, inversion, chiropractor, acupuncture, massage, Turn Your Breech Baby Hypnobabies cd, music, ice, flashlight, headstands, homeopathics, and of course lots and lots of prayers.
Finally, when I was almost 38 weeks my midwife referred me to an OB for a version. I had an ultrasound done first where it was discovered that my amniotic fluid levels were quite low. Too low to attempt a version, and low enough to cause concern that something else could be wrong. The OB said that most of his colleagues would recommend I get a c-section that night since my baby was full term and breech. He realized that was obviously something we wanted to avoid, so he recommended a non-stress test to see how the baby was doing first. Fortunately, my midwife could do this at her office, so we didn't have to stay in the hospital. Baby was doing great so the orders were to "hydrate like hell" and hope to get my fluids up enough to attempt the version in a couple days. I drank liters and liters of water but when I went back for another ultrasound my fluid levels were barely higher. A version was no longer an option. Time to prepare for plan B.
We did another non-stress test (baby still doing great) and talked things over with our midwife. Here in Utah it is illegal for liscensed midwives to attend breech births at home. This meant our wonderful midwife, Rebecca, could not attend our birth alone. So she contacted a very experienced and well respected lay midwife in our area and asked her if she'd be willing to come to our birth. Chris agreed to come. We decided it was probably best for Miriam to come pretty soon since my fluid levels were so low. We decided to give her a few more days but made plans to encourage things along the following Wednesday. We continued to do non stress tests every other day, which Miriam always passed with flying colors.
Wednesday came and that morning Rebecca stripped my membranes and gave me cohosh in the hopes of getting labor started. I'm not usually a fan of even these types of intervention but with my low fluid levels and a breech baby we thought it was best to encourage things along. We did another nonstress test that morning too and she was happy as always. When Rebecca stripped my membranes I was 4 cm dilated and 50% effaced with a bulging bag of waters quite low. Not a bad start.
We left Rebecca's office just before 10 and headed to Costco to get a few last minute things. I started having a few mild cramps. By the time we left Costco they had picked up a bit. We stopped at one more store to get diapers and pads and then headed home. It was just after 11 when we got home. I was having mild and crampy waves pretty close together but still didn't know if they would go anywhere. I had several things I wanted to get done around the house and thought I would have plenty of time. I got on the computer to do a quick post on my blog. By the time I was done with that I was having to really concentrate on the waves to relax. They were getting more intense and were VERY close together. Rebecca called around noon and said that was the cohosh at work.
I laid on my bed and listened to some Hypnobabies. I was actually getting a bit frustrated because despite my best efforts the waves were still somewhat uncomfortable. They were just so close together I hardly got a chance to regroup between them. Time gets a little fuzzy from here on out, but I spent a few waves on the toilet and then on the floor of the bathroom on my hands and knees. Then I went back to my bed. Rebecca called again and said she would come right over as soon as her last appointment left. I was back in the bathroom when she got to our house about 1:45. She checked me and I was 7 cm and 80% effaced. And bless her she said I could get in the birth pool!
I was so happy to be in the water. It really helped me relax more. The waves had spaced out a tiny bit so I was getting a bit more of a break between them, but they were also getting super intense. I knelt and leaned against the side of the pool and started vocalizing through them. In the mean time, Jared was working out arrangements for Asher who had just woken up from his nap, and we were still waiting on Chris, the other midwife to get there. Right around when she arrived I started feeling pushy and felt a pop--my water broke. This is also about the time Jared left to take Asher around the corner to a friend's house. I started pushing involuntarily and pretty soon her bottom was out and then her legs. And Jared wasn't back yet! Rebecca ran out the door to see if she could catch him but didn't see him. He got back when Miriam was half way out. Chris told me to reach down and touch her so I was rubbing her back before her head was out. She got still for a moment while she got her arms out and then I pushed again and her head came right out super easy. I just lifted her between my legs and turned around. No one else even touched her. I think the whole pushing phase was less than 5 minutes. (Unfortunately, it was so fast that we didn't get a chance to get out the video camera. I really wanted to get the birth on video since a breech homebirth is so unusual. That is my only regret for the day.)
She was born at 2:41 pm. So I had roughly 3 to 3 1/2 hours of active labor. I think because of the cohosh and membrane stripping, everything was more intense. My waves were always super close together. It was definitely a fast ride. But I remained very calm and peaceful during the whole thing. Thank you, Hypnobabies!
When I lifted Miriam out of the water her eyes were wide open and she was quiet. My first thought was that her eyes were huge and she looked so different than Asher did right after he was born. (He was all swollen and bruised.) I rubbed her back and we put a towel on her and she started pinking up and making some noise. We hung out in the water until the cord stopped pulsing and then Rebecca clamped it and Jared cut it. Jared took Miriam and held her skin to skin while I got out of the water and went over to the couch. I wasn't even bleeding that much thank goodness. A few minutes later I pushed out the placenta. We just hung out on the couch and Miriam eventually started nursing while Rebecca and Chris cleaned up and then checked me out. I didn't tear! I just have a little "skid mark" that will heal up fine. I'm not even sore. I only used one ice pack that day and have felt fine since. Much different than how I felt after Asher when it seemed like my bottom wasn't even attached to by body anymore! Three hours of pushing can do that I guess!
And let me also add that being at home right after is SO great! I've loved it. I hope I never have to birth in a hospital again!
Miriam is doing great. She's a little jaundiced but not enough to worry about. We've just been letting her sunbathe a lot. She's very alert and smiley already. She has huge eyes and the sweetest little mouth. We of course think she's gorgeous. She's like a little pixie. All her newborn clothes are still huge on her. She does look like Asher but she also just looks like herself. She's very girlie looking with long slender fingers and toes. We are all smitten with her. Asher is adjusting fairly well. He's really gentle with her but he's also having to get used to sharing Mommy. I took some really cute pictures of the two of them today that I'll get posted soon. My mom is here with us and we are all just enjoying having a tiny baby around again. Life is good.
Here's a slideshow of more photos from the birth: